Endometriosis is More Common in Skinny Women: A Follow-up

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If endometriosis was something you could market – the commercial,  based on the more popular research of late, would go something like this:

Tall, Dark & Handsome Man: “You are looking quite radiant today.  Is that a new dress?”

Young Beautiful Woman: (turns dramatically as she seductively whispers) “No… No, that’s just my Endometriosis.”

We’ve come a long way since endometriosis was first discovered in 1860. We now know that slim women have a greater risk of developing endometriosis and that women with recto-vaginal endometriosis (the rarest/most severe form – affecting only 11-13% of endometriosis sufferers) are surprisingly more attractive.  Ok, so we don’t have a cure but hey, at least we know that there are more skinny women with endometriosis than there are obese women. Being skinny does not cause endometriosis, and being obese doesn’t prevent endometriosis, but this is important research because it… It shows that BMI is correlated with endometriosis and that does nothing for the 176 million women whom already suffer from endometriosis.

It doesn’t matter that we have multiple hypotheses as to how endometriosis might develop, or only a handful of treatments – most of which leave much to be desired (i.e. hysterectomy and “chemical menopause”).  No, it doesn’t matter because we know that some women with severe endometriosis are freakishly attractive. And obviously this research was extremely important since it was covered on almost every media channel in 2012, including the prestigious and highly scientific Cosmopolitan.

While Tuesday’s original post on the endometriosis/skinny research brought up the questionable quality of women’s health research and funding. I would like to add on that and point a finger at the media for highlighting the research that doesn’t really make a difference and shunning the research that does.  What about the studies on PEDF– an injectable protein to reverse endometriosis symptoms? Why do I have to comb the bowels of Google, to find that…  What about the research study from 2012 that shows a gluten-free diet can help those with endometriosis? Or how a study conducted in Milan found that women who ate red meat on a daily basis were 80 -100 times more likely to have endometriosis. Did you see the research stating migraines are more common in women with endometriosis?  Or how Reservatol from red grapes helps block endometriosis? No, no one knows about these studies, and yet these are the studies where actual progress is going to come from.

So, as a researcher myself, and in an attempt to create research that matters, I am now accepting grant money for a new research project that I think will really shed some insight on endometriosis. I’m calling it “Favorite Hue and its Link to Endometriosis.” I hypothesize that women with endometriosis favor a disproportionate amount of pink. And this is important because maybe, just maybe, we can finally get some nicer ribbons (rather than the yellow ones currently ascribed to us).

Jordan Davidson is a Freelance Health and Nutrition Writer based out of New York City. She is also the proud parent of a new blog Hersterical. You can contact her with any inquiries at hersterical@gmail.com or follow her on twitter at: @JA_Davids. 


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3 Comments

  1. This is a great article, thanks for sharing your perspectives.

    When I first heard about the Endo study about the slim and “freakishly good looking” it bothered me at first thinking about why they are wasting time with that instead of looking into what causes it to grow and how we could detect Endo without surgery.

    After looking back the research does have merit and it is a stepping stone in the right direction.

    I consider myself not bad looking, was always very skinny and I am in that small percentile with the recto-vaginal cyst. So it really makes me think they are on to something or at least headed into the right direction.

    I guess there are just a lot of us that suffer and to hear a study come out with this it enrages us because we just want to feel better and feel that its a very slow process and that more studies need to be done in other areas. So I see both sides.

    Thanks again for this post its awesome!!!

  2. As someone in psychology and someone who does research myself, I get that not all research is groundbreaking and I fully understand the benefits of epidemiological studies. While there is always a want in science for demographics, there is a need for a cure or for treatments less barbaric than chemical menopause or hysterectomies. As someone who has been offered a partial hysterectomy since I was 14, I would like to know something about endometriosis other than what I already know. I know there are more pressing matters within the endometriosis community that can be studied; and there are people out there who are studying these topics with minimal funding and media attention and that needs to change. The study with recto-vaginal endometriosis women being more attractive was promoted as being “important” because they feel that these women have more hormones and estrogen – hence their beauty. I get that these studies are done to help “understand the traits of women with endometriosis” but they don’t do anything for the 176 million women worldwide whom already suffer from endometriosis and they aren’t really getting us closer to a cure either. I get that science is slow progressing, but endometriosis isn’t and enough is enough.

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